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Our study of 1 Cor 5 brings practical instruction in how to deal with continual willful sin in the church. The Corinthian church permitted a man to continue in an incestuous relationship with his father's wife. The sin was not dealt with by the community, but rather, to their shame, they allowed the man to continue to fellowship, even as he continued in this heinous sin. Paul's instruction in this chapter brings us face to face with the matter of church discipline, and caused us to face questions as to how and when to exercise church discipline, and what â€śexcommunicationâ€ť looks like in the local assembly today.
What is clear in Scripture is that for the love of the individual, for the love of the church, for the love of the watching world, and for the love of the glory of Christ's name, the church of Jesus Christ must exercise care as to who is counted in their number and who is not. If we care to be an honest display of Christ's transforming power over sin, and uphold the holy name of Christ, and display obedience to a benevolent Father, then then we must, as His church, deal with sin in the church rightly. As Christians are simultaneously sinful and justified, there are sins that we expect as part of our incomplete sanctification, but then there are sinful patterns that go unrepented of, causing the whole assembly to lose trust in the veracity of a person's faith. As such, church discipline is never about â€śwhich sinâ€ť or â€śhow badly does one sinâ€ť before the church exercises discipline. Rather, as Jonathan Leeman observes, â€śsin gets weighed in a balance with sin on one side of the balance and evidence of repentance on the other side.â€ť
A native of New York, Pastor LoSardo was saved by the grace of God in 1986 after hearing the Gospel from his brother, while pursuing a career in scientific research. He was ordained into the ministry in 1995 and served as the Associate Pastor of a large messianic congregation for over 8...